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Those On Front Lines Of Opioid Epidemic In Hard-Hit States Dismayed By Trump’s Announcement

The emergency declaration “falls far short of actions that are needed to immediately address the magnitude and scope of this epidemic,” says Michael Botticelli, executive director of the Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center. Media outlets cover reactions out of Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Illinois and Virginia as well.

Boston Globe: Declaring An Emergency Sounds Good — But People In Mass. Ask, Where Are The Dollars?
Addiction specialists and advocates in Massachusetts, one of the states hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, welcomed President Trump’s words Thursday declaring a public health emergency — but decried the lack of money and actions to back them up. “It’s disgraceful,” said Kurt Isaacson, CEO of Spectrum Health Systems, a nonprofit addiction-treatment provider based in central Massachusetts. “If you’re just talking about something, and you’re not doing anything actionable, then the words are kind of hollow.” (Freyer, 10/26)

WBUR: Trump’s Declaration Of Opioid Epidemic As Public Health Emergency Gets Mixed Reviews In Mass.
Gov. Charlie Baker, who is a member of Trump’s opioid commission, said the emergency declaration is a “strong step in the right direction,” but he’s calling on the White House and Congress to fully fund the commission’s recommendations. Speaking at an event in Lawrence Thursday, the Republican governor said he is eager for next week’s release of the White House commission’s final report and thinks that national leaders should do what was done in Massachusetts. (Becker, 10/26)

The Philadelphia Inquirer/Philly.com: In Philly Region, Trump’s Opioid Statement Prompts Hope, Skepticism
In the Philadelphia region, where thousands die each year of drug overdoses, President Trump’s declaring the opioid crisis a public health emergency was greeted Thursday with some wary hope and plenty of skepticism. All agreed that until more details are revealed, it’s hard to know what the statement will mean locally.“I hope it’s not just words – that there’s actions behind it,” said Mayor Kenney, adding that “presidential acknowledgment of the problem nationwide is important.” But designating the situation a national emergency, he noted, would have meant more federal money for treatment and housing for homeless drug users. (Schaefer, 10/26)

Columbus Dispatch: Trump Declares Health Emergency On Drugs, But No Money
Ohio and other states could benefit from Trump’s move to lift a Medicaid requirement that limited drug treatment centers to no more than 16 beds. Cheri Walter, CEO of the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Authorities, said easing that regulation would help.“It’s going to make beds available for the opioid epidemic very quickly,” she said. “And a lot of people are in need of services, particularly in a residential-type setting.” (Wehrman, 10/26)

San Jose Mercury News: How Does California Fit Into The Opioid Crisis?
While states like West Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire have carved out unenviable reputations in the headlines as bastions of prescription painkiller abuse, California has hardly been spared the ravages of this public-health crisis: more than 183,000 deaths in the state from 1999 through 2015 have been attributed to the epidemic. … So how does California compare? From the California Department of Public Health and its Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard, here are some numbers that paint a troubling picture for the state as the president declares war on the crisis. (May, 10/26)

Chicago Tribune: Chicago Suffers Under Fentanyl’s Toll As President Declares Opioid Emergency
Chicago has long been one of the nation’s biggest heroin markets, but the introduction of powerful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil into the street trade has had a devastating effect on overdose deaths, experts say. Drug dealers often add synthetics to heroin — or substitute them for heroin altogether — to create a more potent and alluring high, but stronger-than-expected doses can be lethal. (Keilman, 10/26)

Richmond Times Dispatch: As National Public Health Emergency Declared, Hundreds Gather In Richmond To Search For Solutions To Opioid Epidemic
Dr. Robert DuPont wanted to stay and hear Richmond-area and state leaders grapple for solutions to the opioid crisis at a regional summit Thursday, but he was needed at the White House. Minutes after delivering a keynote address to about 750 people gathered beneath a soaring ceiling at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, DuPont was off to hear President Donald Trump declare the epidemic a public health emergency. But not before praising the region’s resolve. (Evans, 10/26)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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